I’m studying business administration and English and spent a semester at the University of Birmingham from September to December 2015 – a great experience!
The application process
The application process was straightforward. I started planning about six months before the semester abroad started. With the help of the information packages on the MicroEDU website, I got an initial overview of various universities in England and ultimately decided on the University of Birmingham, as the courses and courses on offer there were the best for me personally. The MicroEDU staff were always very helpful and helped with any questions. I then put together my application in mid-April. You then already specify which courses you want to take part in Birmingham and include a letter of motivation and a recommendation from a lecturer from your home university. I then sent the application documents to MicroEDU , who forwarded them to the University of Birmingham.
After receiving the acceptance for the semester abroad at the University of Birmingham or UOB according to iamaccepted, I applied for a place in the dormitory in June. The prices vary depending on the dormitory and room, so I found out about the different dormitories in advance and then gave a list of dormitories – depending on their priority. A month later, I received confirmation of a place in the residence hall. I then had to make a deposit and confirm the offer within four days in order to finally get the place. A few weeks before the start of the semester, there was already the opportunity to get in touch with his flatmates and it was nice to get a first impression. I lived with four local students and one exchange student from Canada. We lived in Pritchatts Park Village, which is just a few minutes’ walk from the campus. There are also some supermarkets nearby. The accommodation was modern and I felt very comfortable there. Things like bed linen, hangers, kitchen accessories were not available and had to be bought yourself. The dormitory (and tuition) fees must then be paid before the semester abroad begins.
The first week
In the first week, the so-called introductory week, a lot had to be organized. You have to put together your timetable and therefore go to the different departments, you have the opportunity to swap courses, etc. In the beginning everything was a bit complicated, but if you ask a lot, everything goes! The staff and students at the university were mostly friendly and helpful, so you don’t have to be afraid of that and in the end everything went well. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed with the events during the introductory week. In the first few days I found it relatively difficult to get to know people, as many either came from the same home university or already knew each other through Erasmus events (from which you are excluded as a freemover). But it is certainly also due to the large number of international students; I had an introductory event with over 100 people. Idid a lot with my roommates and got to know people in my courses.
The choice of courses at the university is very large. I took two modules in business administration (“Principles of Marketing” and “Introduction to Finance”) and two in English (“English Literature 1790-Present” and “Shakespeare: Selected Plays”).
Business Administration: The two modules were organized as lectures with a tutorial each, which took place every two weeks. In “Introduction to Finance” there was a test in the middle of the semester as the only form of examination, in “Principles of Marketing ” you had to write an essay (3000 words) and give a short presentation in the tutorial.
English: These seminars took place in smaller groups (20-30 people) and were only for international students. So here you also had the opportunity to get to know people from very different countries. Examination forms were also essays with 3,000 words each.
The deadlines for the essays were actually until mid-January. However, if you only stay one semester, you have to hand it in by the end of the semester, i. e. by mid-December. This is easy to manage if you manage your time accordingly.
The lecturers of my chosen course I found very engaging and friendly, so it was fun anyway.
As already mentioned, the university staff and students are very nice and helpful. You definitely don’t feel left alone and you will find help with all questions regarding studies and accommodation.
Leisure and excursion opportunities
At the university there are many “student groups” in which you can get involved. The groups are divided into different categories:
- Cultural & International
- Indoor activities
- Outdoor activities
- Music & Dance
So really a large selection of very different activities! There is a “Society Fair” where you can get a first impression and ask questions. There is also a Student Exchange Society that organizes trips and meetings especially for exchange students.